pls help me upgrade my QUAD?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by woodie63, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. woodie63 macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2005
    Hi there
    Most of my previous photoshop & Illustrator work has been spent with sub-100MB files on a 15" 1.5Ghz Powerbook with 1.5GB RAM.
    Generally that works pretty well.
    I print to an HP5000 using a software RIP and the quality is pretty much what I want.

    I landed a job which requires me to produce "actual size" artwork at approx 3000mm x 2500mm 100ppi ............ I won't be printing this one and this is what the printer needs (a bit odd I know)
    My Photoshop work for this job is essentially a photomontage with heavy use of layers and layer effects, the photos I'm using are a combination of Tiff and RAW (two different cameras). Also a lot of filter work on top, paint daubs, neat image, nik sharpener etc.

    Can't do that on a powerbook so - been dreaming of getting a G5 for some time and eventually sold the farm to get a dual core Quad and a 30" cinema - I still can't quite believe it!

    Enough of this waffle - I was wondering if you guys had any thoughts on how I can really optimize my new baby for photoshop bearing in mind that the job I'm working on - the working files are quite large (1.5GIG):eek:

    From apple I took the standard 250GB WDC drive and standard 512 RAM. here's what I've done so far:

    4 x 1GB OWC RAM (two were bad - I'm currently waiting for replacements)
    I've ordered a WD Raptor 10,000RPM sata drive to use as a scratch disk.
    I'm currently storing all my files on a FW800 lacie disk to free up the startup disk.

    Any suggestions on how to improve the performance would be great. Can I add another SATA drive? I think the manual says 2 max but I see three slots. I also read that photoshop can only make use of 2GB of Ram is that true?

    I am currently using the trial version of PS CS2 but could switch back to CS1 if that's better on performance.

    thanks in advance, great forums


    p.s. feel free to tell me if I ordered the wrong upgrades, I usually do!
  2. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    Hm, I recently did a job quite similar to yours on my pb. It was 18 m x 5 m at 30 dpi. The psd file was about 1,5 gb. Over all I was surprised that the pb could handle it quite well, of course I had to wait 10 min+ every now and then but I tried the filter effects on a smaller version of the file at first so I had no trial and error when working on the final data. After 2 days the project was finished including some adaptions to fit the clients wishes. Of course it would have been nice doing these things on a quad G5 but since it was only one time the pb had to fit. What I'm trying to say is that it's probably not worth "selling the farm" for a single project. I believe a refurb 2 x 2 ghz G5 would suit your needs just fine. If there are more projects like that coming then the quad is definitely the right choice, but from what you wrote it is not a typical project of yours. I'm sure you'll wage the pros and cons of such a large investment wisely just thought I'd share my recent experience.

    Anyway the system you're thinking about would surely be awesome. Don't know if photoshop supports only 2 gb ram but even if it is true I'd get 4 gb once you are at it. The system and other running applications will need some ram too.

    Good luck.
  3. woodie63 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2005
    thanks for that chaosbunny
    I probably didn't make it clear, I already got the Quad and I have a lot of similar stuff to do including my 3D Blender stuff. Also, I should have 4.5GB ram soon.....

    would really like to know if anyone has suggestions about SATA drives for the quad, scratch dicks etc.
    If Photoshop only uses 2GB, maybe the scratch disk is irrelavent?
    how about if I put the application on the Raptor would that make a difference?


    p.s. just kidding about the farm bit it was more like selling the tractor
  4. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    Oh, sorry, got you wrong then. :p I'm afraid I don't have any answers for your scratch disk/SATA drive questions, but I'm sure someone around here will....
  5. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Putting the scratch disk onto the Raptor is a good idea. You have room for only two total SATA hard drives in the machine.

    Ideal would be to separate out System, Scratch, Application and Data onto separate drives. IMO for a 3 spindle solution, put System and Scratch onto the same drive, then application and data on separate disks. Try to have only one drive per controller -- that is, don't chain multiple Firewire drives because then the FW controller becomes the bottleneck for data.

    You could get an external SATA enclosure and SATA PCI card, like from Firmtek which would give you removeable bays for your data files at almost native SATA performance without any speed penalty for FireWire (got more data? Just slide in another drive. Wanna backup? just slide in the backup drive) You may have to wait a month or two for PCI-e SATA interface cards to come to market.
  6. woodie63 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2005
    thanks! I really appreciate that, when the Raptor arrives I'll try putting the system and scratch on that (its only about 80 GIG I think.)

    Any thoughts on whether PS CS1 or 2 is better at RAM/Scratch management?
  7. Dreadnought macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2002
    Almere, The Netherlands
    Hmmm, two raptors as a raid? Back everything up (daily) with the FW800 disk. Also get even more ram in it. Look in you activity control monitor under system memory (had to translate that from Dutch, so don't know if it's correctly translated!), and look if you still use virtual memory. If so, the system uses the harddisk for a part of the ram/to store ram in that it doesn't need at once. If it's a lot, (like I have now, 4.5 GB and already have 1.5 GB ram) put more ram in her.
  8. woodie63 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2005
    thanks Dreadnought
    I could be wrong but I don't think virtual memory means anything in OSX
    probably should have mentioned I'm running 10.4.3

    I seem to be getting more and more spining beachball with my file size 1.4 - 1.6GIG

    I'm going to try to optimize the disk see if that helps.

    any more thoughts on Photoshop and RAM?
  9. woodie63 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2005
    Actually, before I get barked at, let me ammend my previous comment:
    What I meant to say was that the user doesn't have the same control over VM as before on OS9 - At least thats my understanding....?

    a quick update: running Speed optimizer X got rid of my spinning BB's :)

    I think I might run it daily...
  10. tobefirst macrumors 68040


    Jan 24, 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    While I'm not sure exactly how much this helps, it seems it might help your system a lot. I've done it on my system at home, but I did it as soon as I installed Photoshop, so I can't really compare.

    Anyways, you can change how Photoshop draws your image when you apply filters, zoom in and out, etc. Here's the documentation:

    Good luck with the project!

    Also, according to this document, on the G5, running Panther or later, Photoshop can access 3GB for it's image data. Plug-ins will use a the next ~700MB and anything above that is used by Photoshop as scratch disk cache.
  11. woodie63 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2005

    let you know if that makes a difference....
  12. Dreadnought macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2002
    Almere, The Netherlands
    Your right there, but your Mac will be loading stuff from your HD into your ram, which is unnecassary if you got more, and would end the hated "beachball of death". (now that I think about it, I should get more ram!)
  13. woodie63 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2005
    for anyone interested, I thought I would give a brief update to my progress with the new Quad:
    my replacement memory and the raptor finally arrived (long wait)

    I followed the advice of various members following this thread and reinstalled a minimum spec system on the Raptor moved my files to my la cie firewire (while this is not ideal for performance when opening files etc, it works for me caus I can take the files between studio and home)

    So to recap - set up is:
    G5 QUAD
    4.5GIG RAM
    system on 10,000rpm 80GIG Raptor
    applications on 250 GIG 7200rpm SATA drive
    files on firewire 800 lacie

    OK, I have Photshop CS2 configured as follows: scratch disk 1 the raptor, scratch disk 2 the 250GIG SATA
    at first I dived right in and set PS's memory slider to use 100% of available memory - 3GIG (after reading the adobe tech notes on memory kindly pointed out by tobefirst. - seems CS2 can handle 3GIG as opposed to 2 as I previously thought)
    I also enabled the bigger tiles plugin as suggested by the adobe tech docs.

    Things were ok after that until I tried using neatImage noise filter and then PS would hang. The console showed that this was a memory issue giving a whole long list of "malloc: *** vm_allocate" errors.

    I lowered the memory setting in PS to 81% and things run smoothly.
    This morning I have tried bumping that setting up to 90% to see if the same problem still occurs, I'll report back when I see what happens.

    Performance with PS seems ok but its misleading because my working files are approaching 2-3 GIG + (I could lower that by purging my history etc. but I'd rather not if poss) I suppose it currently feels pretty much like my powerbook working on say a 100mb file.....
    So does anyone have comments on whether my scratch disk setup is right?

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